19 Unexpected Benefits of Starting a Podcast
And why it’s good to try new things.
I’ve produced nineteen podcast episodes, publishing every Monday for the last few months. While I’m still a newbie, I can already see growth. Some growth in audience numbers, but also in other ways that aren’t easily measured.
Starting a podcast was on my “wish list” for a few years, but I kept putting it off. Maybe you’re thinking of doing a podcast, and maybe you’ve put it off too. Or, maybe there is some other venture calling to you, but you’re hesitant. Or making excuses.
I can’t tell you what to do, but here’s a list of 19 quick thoughts on podcasting, 19 episodes in. Some of these surprised me. Others I expected, but not in the way they happened.
I’m glad I started podcasting because:
1) Having a hard deadline to publish episodes every Monday has added structure to my week. I’m a freelancer, and sometimes the week can feel a bit nebulous. My weekly podcast has become a welcomed anchor for the rest of my schedule.
2) I engage in a lot of long-term projects. Finishing something every week helps give me a feeling of accomplishment between those longer projects.
3) Sitting down to write my podcast script every week helps me to focus on others. I’m not writing for my own benefit; I’m writing to help and encourage other people.
4) My podcast gives me a good reason to consider “big picture” things. I’m a small part of a larger community. When I create content, I think about what’s happening across the landscape of my community. What’s important? What is being overlooked? What themes are related? What are the trends? Where are they leading?
5) I feel things deeply. Podcasting is a healthy way to address things I’m passionate about. Creating an episode — or a series — allows me to process those feelings and concerns in a more thoughtful, thorough way.
6) This is related to #5. Turning a “worry” into an episode turns a negative into a positive. My worry doesn’t benefit anyone. Actually, it hurts me. Creating a podcast episode is a way of taking action and helping others.
7) Stacking up completed episodes is energizing. I don’t have 50 or 500 episodes, but I have 19. They’re done. Nineteen little work products, shipped. I like this feeling, and I want to feel it more. It makes me think, “where else can I accumulate wins?”
8) I don’t know what I’m doing, and that’s okay. I’m still learning. I’ll always be learning. I have a tendency to wait until everything is perfect before I begin. It is refreshing to focus on the process and what I’m learning, instead of some impossible perfection.
9) I get feedback from others. This is humbling and such a kindness. This kindness makes me realize how important it is for me to share good words with others, too. We all need encouragement. It matters, and on some days, it can make a world of a difference.
10) I’m winning a war. Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, is aptly titled. The Resistance is real, and you have to keep punching. Winning at podcasting strengthens me for other battles that require discipline.
11) I’m training my mind to be alert for (and capture) new ideas. Don’t get me wrong…I can crank out ideas and I love brainstorming. But committing to a podcast means that I need ideas in a well-defined direction. I have to stay within my show’s concept. This is a challenge. I’m growing. Some days it hurts, but it’s a good hurt.
12) What I’m learning now will help me with my next podcast show. The episodes for my current show are short — most are less than 10 minutes — and I don’t do any interviews. I like this format for this show. It’s simple and that’s how I wanted it. In fact, I named the show “Simple Truth Big Change,” because I had such a clear idea on what this needed to be. But I also knew this would be a learning experience for other shows I might launch. I started simple on purpose.
13) My writing is improving. This isn’t because I’m extraordinary. It’s because I’m doing it over and over again. I’m practicing. And practice is necessary if you want to improve.
14) I discovered a new avenue for work. Podcasting is a natural fit for me. The day I recorded my first episode, I knew. I’m for this work, and this work is for me.
15) It’s fun. I’m a podcaster, and that’s cool! I have this wonderful opportunity to reach others, to care for them, and be a part of their lives. I have listeners around the world. Not a lot, but they’re out there, tuning in. (I don’t know who you are, but thank you!)
16) I’m learning patience. I’m not getting too focused on stats or audience growth right now. I want to get at least 50 episodes done before I work on promotion. Yeah, maybe that’s not smart, but that’s what’s in my heart to do. I don’t want to get sidetracked. I have a clear goal. Right now, it’s about producing the content.
17) I’m confident this will open other doors. I’m not sure which doors or when, but I’m doing the work with a confident expectation. It’s good work, joyful work. And it’s part of a process for greater things.
18) I’m going deeper. I produce episodes on topics that interest me. Every time I write a script, I learn new things about my topics. Having to create content to share with others is a great motivation to go deeper and learn more about the things that matter to you.
19) Nothing is wasted. The content I’m creating can be reformatted for other channels in the future, like books or talks. And I can mine content from my older work, journals, or research, and give that new life on my podcast.
What about you?
Are new adventures calling? Weighing risk versus reward is wise, but many of the rewards may be unknowable…until you begin. You can’t see what waits down the road until you get on it.
What would you love to do? And what do you think you would learn along the way? There is value in the “going,” even before you “arrive.” The experience will change you, grow you, in nineteen ways and more.